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The Hart of Alabama

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Why is it that women always seem to be looking for and finding love in Alabama?

It happens in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. It happens on the TV series The Hart of Dixie. And in the book called The Wind Could Blow a Bug.

I am writing this post in honor of the season finale of Hart of Dixie airing this Friday. While the CW has thus far stayed mum, the cast have all been pretty public that this is the end of the series.

Hart of Dixie's Wilson Bethel

Hart of Dixie’s Wilson Bethel

You probably don’t remember a little blog post I wrote three years ago about Hart of Dixie. The link is here. And I still feel the same way. That the show just never quite lived up to its potential. And a large part of it might be that the show has several fundamental connections to The O.C. The O.C. nailed it with almost every episode. Maybe I just never got used to the slower feel of things in Bluebell. Hell, the first season was over before I realized I was supposed to have paid attention to the background townsfolk every week. That made re-watching season one, and watching new episodes going forward, much more enjoyable.

Josh Lucas & Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Josh Lucas & Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

A few weeks ago, I was daydreaming on a cold Michigan winter day about sunny Alabama (or at least as it is portrayed by various other location shoots on my television) and a thought occurred to me:

Hart of Dixie and Sweet Home Alabama have a few things in common.

1. They both feature petite career women from the big city.

Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart and Reese Witherspoon as Melanie Carmichael, hoity-toity fashion designer. And in both cases, the big city is NYC.

2. They both feature a blond guy who looks amazing with his shirt off.

Wilson Bethel as Wade Kinsella and Josh Lucas as Jake Perry.

3. They both include a dark-haired man as the “logical” choice in the love triangle.

Scott Porter as lawyer George Tucker and Patrick Dempsey as rich guy Andrew Hennings.

4. The lead female in both instances seems to only be sure of her “bad boy” choice once he makes something of himself. (Which, HELLO, totally NEGATES the “bad boy.”)

Wade gets series about owning his own bar, while Jake takes his love of glass to the next level.

5. They both include weddings affected by storms.

George and Lemon’s wedding was pushed from the town square into the old, rundown fire station, until it was eventually called off altogether. Melanie runs from her groom Andrew as the winds pick up and the rain starts to pour.

Lesson to be learned here: No outdoor weddings if you are a fictional character in Alabama.

6. They both include a friend with a big mansion house.

Lavon’s large mayoral mansion is the setting for many of the high-jinks in Bluebell, including the guest houses where Wade and Zoe reside.  Melanie holds her ill-fated wedding with Andrew at the Carmichael estate.

These are just a few of the things I noticed off the top of my head.

I will be very sad to see Hart of Dixie go. It may not have always fulfilled my craving, but I faithfully watched it every week. Sometimes Hart of Dixie nailed it. Like when Wade has to sing Crazy Earl down off the roof, and we discover that Crazy Earl if actually his father. Or when Zoe makes a date with the mysterious stranger in town, only to find out he is Wade’s brother.

I don’t know what the writers originally planned for Zoe’s love life, but it was always Wade for me. ❤

Zoe playing doctor with Wade

Zoe playing doctor with Wade

Did I wet your whistle for some more romantic adventures in Alabama? My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

What I Learned This Week – 6/22/14

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This week I was searching online for a picture of a thin male actor with shaggy blond hair in his 20’s I could use for some inspiration for a character in one of my novels. I tried Shaggy Rogers, but he is too animated. I tried to look up Disney actors, but they were all too buff or Zach Efron. I ran across a picture of Devon Sawa. I thought he might be perfect, if only I could find a picture of him a little older.

This week I learned that Devon Sawa grew up and got buff.

Devon Sawa before

Devon Sawa before

Devon Sawa Now

Devon Sawa now

Of all pictures of him on the Internet, he is skinny and young, or older, with muscles and tattoos. Not that that is a bad thing! It just isn’t what I was interested in for my character.

I also found out that Devon Sawa still acts! I just assumed, as happens to many teen heartthrobs, that after Night of the Twisters and Final Destination, he went off to college or something and never came back.

Apparently one of his more notable recent acting jobs was on The CW’s Nikita. I noticed that while he still keeps some of his young Devon sweetness, mostly he is all muscles and action now. He even got his gap-toothed smile fixed, which totally changes how he looks and talks. (It makes me a little sad.)

This leads us into the second thing I learned this week: The CW’s Nikita is a really good show.

I looked for it on Netflix, and IT WAS THERE! That NEVER happens!

I just started watching it this week. It actually aired from 2010-2013. Dang. It appears I found it about 6 months too late.

There have been a lot of previous versions of stories about Nikita. Just the ones I am aware of are:

La Femme Nikita (movie 1990) French

Single White Female (movie 1992) English remake starring Bridget Fonda

La Femme Nikita (USA Network TV Series 1997-2001) starring Peta Wilson

My asbestos friend totally loves the USA TV series La Femme Nikita. She doesn’t write about entertainment on her blog, as I do. But if she did, she totally would have written about that show by now. I have never watched it.

Devon Sawa doesn’t show up until the fifth episode on CW’s Nikita. By the time I got through the first four episodes, I was hooked.

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to follow the black ops type plots, or that I wouldn’t like the characters. I was worried there would be nothing for me to like about it.

I was wrong.

The plots seem to be simplified, for people like me. I hate that they feel “dumbed-down”, but I like that I can watch it at 3:00AM and still follow the action with a cloudy brain and bleary eyes .

I don’t really like or hate Maggie Q, the actress who plays Nikita. But I love Shane West. I love Devon Sawa. And I was sooo pleasantly surprised to discover that Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper-Nichol-Cooper-Atwood, herself!) is a regular in the cast. (Thank you, McG!) Clarke is sooo under-appreciated. She is under-used in the episodes I have watched so far, but I have a feeling that may change.

There is an actress named Lyndsy Fonseca who has a very big part as Alex. She is kind of a double agent. She has hair so amazing I start watching her hair and forget to listen to the dialogue. She looked familiar, but I didn’t know from where. When I looked it up, to my surprise, she played the “daughter” on How I Met Your Mother! The poor daughter who was stuck on the couch for eight years listening to Ted’s rambling story.

Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex on Nikita

Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex on Nikita Photo: IMDb.com

 

Fonseca is really good on Nikita. She can do more than just stare into a camera and look bored.

The show is a lot about missions and training and revenge. But as it is the CW, there are lots of hot guys with their shirts off who care more about the women around them than they let on.

I LOVE THAT!

Shane West performance as Michael, Nikita’s mentor, enemy, ally, love interest mesmerizes me. Admitted, so far his part mostly involves a lot of brooding. But there is a great scene where he finds out Nikita is alive after believing that she is dead. The emotions that cross his face are great. In real life, his boss would pick up on that in a moment and kill him for having feelings for her (but we will ignore such realism;).

I got to Season 1, Episode 9, One Way. It is the first time we see Michael and Nikita working together, side by side. I was so enthralled that I literally had to tear myself away from the TV and go to work. It was brutal, having to wait 8 hours to watch the final 10 minutes of the episode. I forgot my cell phone at home, so I could not even cheat and watch it on my lunch [half] hour! Then I came home and could not tear myself away from watching Nikita to go to bed. I blame the Netflix feature that automatically starts the next episode when the one you are watching has not yet reached the end of the credits.

So, ya. Now I have to watch all four seasons. I love the act of binge watching, but it really f’s up my life.

And, oh ya, I also found the body type I wanted for my story character:

Shane West

Shane West

Oh, and I am spending time dodging Facebook messages from my former high school classmates who want my address to send me an invite to our 20 year class reunion. We haven’t had any reunions before, why start now?

And, they totally must not read my blog. >:) [Insert evil laugh here.]

What I Learned This Week – 5/11/14

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This week a big, momentous achievement was reached in my goal toward self-publishing my own book.

I printed it out.

The longest story that I have ever written and printed, to date.

The longest story that I have ever written and printed, to date.

I know, that sounds really stupid.

In high school, I used to print out my stories all the time. But,

1. I didn’t have a computer at home to edit them on, so I had to use the hard copy.
2. My stories were short enough that I could print them out repeatedly.

My husband incorrectly assumed that because I printed out my story, that it was done. He questioned me when he saw I was immediately writing and editing on my newly printed pages.

No, it is not done. But, the achievement is in that it got to the stage where I needed to look at it on something other than a computer screen. And, I felt that it was worthy of “wasting” 115 pages of paper and ink to print it off. My husband is not a writer. He doesn’t understand my convoluted stages of writing, or the value I put on our limited supply of ink and paper.

I will revise, edit, and put away this draft, while I then proceed to do some preliminary editing on books 2 and 3 in the trilogy. Afterall, I need to make sure that the details and characters are consistent through all three books. Then, I will come back to book 1, update the file, and proofread it.

When I print it out the next time, I will tie my asbestos friend to a chair, hold her eyelids open, and force her to read it. And if she gives me any negative feed back, I will shock her with my dog’s shock collar.

But don’t tell her that.

Unfortunately, I also learned this week that 5 of the 12 TV shows I regularly watch will not be back next year. The following shows were cancelled this week. Some have links to other posts you can click through and read more about that show.

Star-Crossed
The Tomorrow People (This has consistently been one of my most popular posts for the last few months.)
Suburgatory
Super Fun Night
Enlisted

Most are not surprises, but I will miss them anyway. I believe that Star-Crossed and The Tomorrow People were The CW’s attempts at putting some of that special effect heavy, super-hero type stuff that plays well in the theater on their channel. And they were really well done. But, I think already having shows like Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, and The Orignals, The CW probably just couldn’t keep up the special effects budges on all those shows. The CW will have to stick to cheaper shows, such as Hart of Dixie. Which is a real shame. These two shows were like reading a short sci-fi teen romance novel each week, except better, because you could just watch it. They were the perfect shows for me. Or maybe I was the perfect audience for them.

The fact that ABC cancelled Super Fun Night isn’t shocking. ABC never really promoted it, and therefore it never found an audience. It was a nice little bit of escape on Wednesday nights that I enjoyed, along with actor Kevin Bishop who played Richard Royce. Now he will be off on his business trip to Berlin, indefinitely:(

I loved the first two seasons of Surburgatory, but it was just off this season and never regained it’s footing. I hope the series finale will find Ryan and Tessa reunited. In real life, that relationship wouldn’t work. But I think the actors both have chemistry and I like to watch it.

Ryan & Tessa breaking up on Suburgatory

Ryan & Tessa breaking up on Suburgatory

And it is possible that Ryan could show up on Suburgatory again, now that the actor who plays him, Parker Young, have more spare time, as the show he left Suburgatory to co-star in, Enlisted, has now been canceled by FOX as well. I was never a fan of the army setting, but the cast was great. Playing the other two Hill brothers were Geoff Stults (of the cancelled “October Road”, which I own the DVDs of both seasons) and Chris Lowell (who I just recently got to watch as Piz on the cancelled “Veronica Mars”).

Here is to hoping that all these fine actors find new shows in which to star in future television pilot seasons.

Oh, how cool would it be if they ALL ended up in the same show together!

Mind blown.

Veronica Mars

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*Decade Old Spoilers Ahead*

Three weeks ago I started watching the TV show Veronica Mars, which aired on UPN and The CW, form 2004-2007.  I watched it because I wanted to see the Veronica Mars movie, currently in theaters.  I wanted to see the movie, not because I really gave a damn about the character of Veronica Mars, but because it was the first big movie to hit theaters financed through Kickstarter.  And I wanted to totally show the studio system that movies based on [good] cancelled TV shows will draw people and CAN make money.  To paraphrase one of my favorite dead dad movies, make it, and they will come.

I am so excited about this idea possibly working for other cancelled TV shows, that I almost contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for the Veronica Mars movie, even though I had never watched a full episode.  I didn’t contribute, so I will have to provide my support by purchasing a theater ticket and/or digital download.

I was already contemplating watching the series when my beloved Entertainment Weekly did a cover story on the VM movie.  I read the whole article, totally clueless as to who these characters were.  I figured, if I am going to go see the movie, I might as well find out who the hell they are.  Not wanting to spend much (any) money, I used a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime.

I really love high school based dramas with some humor, especially those with chicks as the central character.  So why didn’t I watch VM the first time around?  I am not big on mysteries.  I don’t want suspense.  Just let me watch the event happen, then let the aftermath play out.  I don’t want to have to “solve” anything.

Also, I was probably busy watching another high school drama set in sunny California featuring tensions between the rich and the poor, Fox’s The O.C.

I kept watching VM this time because she had a cute, flippy haircut that I wished I could pull off.

Cute hair.  Photo: Warner Bros.

Cute hair. Photo: Warner Bros.

I really like the theme song “We Used To Be Friends” by the Dandy Warhols. But, I heard it on The O.C. first.

After watching about four episodes, I went back and reread the Entertainment Weekly article.  The article talked about how all the fans wanted her to end up with some Logan guy, played by Jason Dohring.

WAIT AN F’ING MINUTE!

The asshole who just tormented Veronica for four episodes?  He is mean, evil, possibly mentally disturbed.  The guy who knocked both headlights out on her car AS SHE WATCHED?!

I’m sorry, but if you f’ up my car, I am not going to forgive you and start dating you six months later.  This information made me very eager to see how the show would make such a leap.  I did not believe it could be done. I was very stubborn in my convictions that no matter what, I would never believe that she should be with Logan.

But by the first season finale, I realized it HAD happened.  I now wanted them to be together.  Oh, he was still an asshole.  But the writers set it up that his whole life was falling apart around him.  And they showed that he could feel love.  So, I guess a mixture of pity and showing love towards Veronica won me over.  I kept waiting for his voice to change in future episodes, but it didn’t.  It is very high and smarmy.  He needs a black mustache to twirl as he makes his snide comments.

I swear to God I found this photo AFTER I wrote the statement above.  What are the chances? Photo: Warner Bros.

I swear to God I found this photo AFTER I wrote the statement above. What are the chances?
Photo: Warner Bros.

I have read where the creator Rob Thomas didn’t first intend for Logan and Veronica to get together. Apparently, when Logan and Veronica were on screen, everyone with the show saw the chemistry and said, “Ya, we want to see more of that.” The problem is, the times when Logan and Veronica were dating, they actually had LESS screen time together to do their finely-timed wordplay and flirty looks. The times that they were dating, Logan just sat around and mooned for Veronica, waiting for her to stop by his penthouse. The times they were broken up, he just sat around and brooded. It was like dating Veronica turned him into a eunuch. It actually made me miss him being a giant asshole. At least he was more interesting then.

Veronica Mars is not the type of show you expect it to be. A lot of the episodes are about a student you have never seen before, and how Veronica helps them solve their problem.  It is pretty deep.  People are raped, people die, those dead people come back and haunt the living.  There is also a class war in Neptune, between the haves and the have nots.  It just seems too ambitious for a show about a little blond high school girl.

Most TV shows I can predict what will happen before it does. That is not the case with VM.  That is both a compliment, and probably the explanation for why it was cancelled.  People like predictability.  That is why Survivor and America’s Funniest Home videos are still on the air.

Veronica drives an older convertible that she uses to bop around town and trail people.  It is quirky and I like that.  It represents that she is a have not.  But it is badly damaged in the season one finale.  How is it that she is still driving it, fully intact, in season 2?  I think the insurance company would have totaled it, with all that front end damage.

I found it interesting that they cast the show with what I would call an unconventional cast.  Neither Teddy Dunn, who played Duncan, or Jason Dohring, who played Logan, were guys you look at and instantly think they are superhotties who could be magazine models.  Don’t get me wrong, they were not trolls either.  And Kristen Bell, while great in the roll, stands at only 5” 1’.  Without acting talent, it would be very hard to get a part at that height.  (I am short, and I have another 3 ¾” on her!)

“Annoy, tiny blond one, annoy like the wind!”

–Logan to Veronica

The O.C. always ended every episode happy to a kick ass song, with everything more or less everything resolved (Marissa letting Volchok slither into her trailer would be an exception.  EW.).  Veronica Mars ended almost every episode with a cliffhanger, which is kind of annoying when it is already 2AM and you need to use will power and turn it off and go to bed.  VM had some songs in it, but they just didn’t strike me as impressive as the ones used on The O.C.  Maybe because watching it so much after the fact, the songs are no longer timely?  I don’t know.

Haven't I seen this on The O.C. a half dozen times? Photo: Warner Bros.

Haven’t I seen this on The O.C. a half dozen times?
Photo: Warner Bros.

Sorry I keep comparing VM to OC, but it seems as though even the staff at VM realized the similarities.  Season 3 of VM the credits were even redone in orange and bars, very similar to The O.C. opening credits.  Probably a suggestion by the network to emulate the more popular O.C.  Except that The O.C. would sadly only last another year itself.  There is a quick reference to The O.C. in the VM movie as well.

I liked Veronica Mars.  A lot.  But I still wouldn’t put it in my Top 10 shows.  It is a good show, but mystery just is not my genre. It might make honorable mention in the Top 15.  I just can’t identify with her enough.  She is too sassy and strong, two things I would never be mistaken for.  Even on The O.C., I could see some of myself in geeky Seth Cohen.

“FYI?  If cuddling is the best part, he didn’t do it right.”

–Logan to Veronica

Ryan Atwood and Logan Echolls both got in tons of fights.  Somehow, I just was always rooting for Ryan, and his motivation always made sense to me.  Not so much with Logan.  While I grew to enjoy Jason Dohring’s stage presence and quippy one liners, my heart will always be with Ryan, his wife beater, and his stare that could shut up Seth with one glance.

While Veronica does not make my Top 10, she is way better than most of the stuff on TV today.

Old boyfriend sees Veronica with new boyfriend.  I feel a fight coming on.  Photo: Warner Bros.

Old boyfriend sees Veronica with new boyfriend. I feel a fight coming on. Photo: Warner Bros.

I am glad I watched the series before I watched the movie.  There were parts in the movie referencing the series that made me laugh out loud and others that made me say “aww” and brought some extra fluid to my eyes.  I like it when I am able to get inside jokes.  Although so many people went through Neptune High School, that half of them I can’t remember.  All the blond girls look alike.

“Our story is epic.”

–Logan to Veronica

The movie was pretty much like watching an extended episode.  Maybe it would have been more impressive watching it on the big screen in the theater, which is what I wanted (and still might do).  But, well, I didn’t want to drive and hour and fifteen minutes away to a theater that was showing it.  And I didn’t want to wait.  So I downloaded it from Amazon.  This whole experience has made me realize that I have a more addictive personality than I first realized.  It is a good thing I desire pop culture and chocolate, and not alcohol and drugs.

If I watch too many episodes of VM in a row, it makes me feel very snarky.  Which isn’t good when I am at work getting paid to provide excellent customer service.  Extended viewing makes me feel bad ass, and makes me want to wear my pony tail higher.

[Veronica is trying to change a flat tire]

Troy: Flat?

Veronica: Just as God made me.

The movie adds Jerry O’Connell as the current sheriff.  Tina Majorino reprises her role as “Mac” from the VM series.

POP QUIZ:  What 1992 series that I loved featured Jerry O’Connell and Tina Majorino?

CLUE #1:  Also starred Jay Mohr.

CLUE #2:  Also featured future two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank.

ANSWER: Camp Wilder!

I can’t resist including a totally off-topic clip from the show, featuring Hillary and fellow recent Oscar winner Jared Leto…

My parting thoughts?  I am busy being amazed that I can watch a 10 year old TV show, one episode after another, and then download the movie instantly four days after it came out which was only made possible through personal donations by fans. What a crazy world we live in today!  It is times like this that the Internet and so much technology seems like a good thing.

I totally cannot get the song “We Used To Be Friends” out of my head now.

Other random trivia:

According to IMDb.com—

Kristen Bell has dessert after every meal, including breakfast.  (For my post on this subject, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2013/10/09/lunch-dessert/ )

Kristen is from Michigan and roots for the Detroit Red Wings. (Like me)

Guest stars on Veronica Mars the series and movie include:

Richard Grieco

Armie Hammer

Rider Strong

Harry Hamlin

Lisa Rinna

Joss Whedon (acting!)

Alyson Hannigan

Sam Huntington

Lara San Giacomo

Ed Begley Jr.

Charisma Carpenter

Paul Rudd

Ken Marino

Ryan Drummond (I’ve met him!)

Jamie Lee Curis (I’ve met her!)

James Franco

Dax Shepherd (Mr. Kristen Bell)

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